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Smart Justice: Improving Traffic Safety and Supporting Victims by Providing Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

This article was published in the NDAA National Traffic Law Center’s Between the Lines Newsletter January 2020/Volume 28, Issue 1.

There is no question that states have a compelling interest in promoting traffic safety; over 35,000 people are killed in traffic crashes each year.3 In an effort to ensure that only minimally qualified people drive on its roadways, every state has enacted licensure laws requiring that drivers meet age requirements, have
sufficient visual acuity, and pass one or more driving tests. Most states, including Florida, prohibit undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses. These prohibitions are more about immigration policy than traffic safety. They apply to all undocumented immigrants, even if they would otherwise be qualified to drive. We believe that the states can improve traffic safety and better serve
victims by repealing these laws, as discussed more fully below.

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